How Suresh Cracked His CISSP Exam

December 14, 2017

 

Motivation
Why and How I Started? 
Preparation
Initial Resources I Started With 
Second Phase
Setting Target Date
CISSP Telegram Group 
During Exam 
Resources I used (Not in order of preference) 


Motivation
It is all about choices and how to mold yourself. Never strongly thought about getting any certification prior to 6 months. I used to explore and try to learn concepts of interest, but CISSP given me a chance to learn things structurally at the same time well known certification to add after my name.

 

Why and How I Started?
I am working in Cybersecurity space and learned about CISSP as a certificate via intranet communications of internal study sessions going on every Thursday lunch hour. Started thinking about it and skimmed through recommended Sybex 7th edition book on Safaribooksonline.com (I might have scared if that has been a paper book :)). I found most of the domains familiar and reflecting my present or past work experience. I thought this is the time to test myself, enhance technical knowledge and add certification to my name. I feel there is a big difference between adding number of years experience and adding relevant certification to support it.

 

Started exploring about CISSP certification and understood that CISSP is a golden standard certification in cybersecurity world and hearing different stories. Later, I joined CISSP Exam Preparation - Study Notes and Theory Facebook group (Thanks to Luke Ahmed), it given me good insights and opened way to wonderful world of Budding CISSPs Telegram group.

 

When going through one of the youtube video, I learned ITIL
is the certificate one can get with less effort and it helps in CISSP preparations. I thought it is a good opportunity and spend less than a month in completing ITIL certification and it given root to serious CISSP preparations. ITIL is all of theory, if CISSP is also of theory I might have quit in between. CISSP is all about knowing and clearing concepts. It is all about Learn -> Unlearn -> Relearn .

 

At one stage of the preparation, most of the strange and scared terms and concepts looked familiar. Once after started serious preparation, getting all required resources with support from family. I got Cybervista CISSP course sponsored as a gift by my brother in law, Suryanarayana Telaprolu (Which include Sybex 7th edition, CBK 4th edition books). I remember those days of not having resources and all the struggles in life. Now, I got all the required resources and full family support (Including 7 years daughter and 2 years son) and only thing required is giving my best effort, passing CISSP made it clear that I given my best.


Preparation:
Initial Resources I Started With

I read Sybex 7th edition thoroughly by taking rough notes in combination with David R Miller CISSP videos (Video lectures are detailed and awesome). I got a chance to attend CyberVista online classes (total 12 weekly classes), attended them without missing. In my second attempt of reading (this is all about reviewing and clearing concepts), added Shon Harris All in one 7th edition book to the list as a reference guide and for Domain 8 study (It helped me clearing multiple concepts and as a good reference material).

 

Second Phase
I started with taking proper notes for the terms i am not familiar with. I used to listen to Kelly Handerhan , Shon Harris audio recordings during my commute. Later, came to know about Phil Martin-Simple CISSP Audio book (Audible app) , started liking it and literally adopted this audiobook, it is playing with me everywhere all the way till exam center and now after passing CISSP in my commutes.

 

I am fully indulged into preparation and don’t want to give any chance. I used to learn asking questions to Google home, answering Budding CISSPs telegram group questions (Awesome group and never sleeps), answering CISSP Tests app (10 questions mock test became my favorite- one mock test when hitting bed gives good sleep). Used to test myself with end of chapter questions from Sybex, AIO and CBK.

 

Setting Target Date:
Fee increase announcement given way to me in booking exam date for 9 th December, 2017 and it became best decision as learning with target is completely different approach. It took total of 6 months preparation including ITIL certification. My final days of preparation includes reviewing Kelly Handerhan videos along with my handwritten notes, MadUnix process guide (you can’t prepare better without it), Sunflower CISSP Summary Version 2.0 (Best summary you can get) and 11 th hour CISSP (Good overview).

 

CISSP Telegram Group
Specially need to mention about Budding CISSP Telegram group- A roller coaster ride. It is continuous flow of knowledge. I got my study buddies Sunny, Shashi Bhatia, Anjlica Malla, Paul Madamombe and Bhavya Jain via this group and we used to have study sessions, those are invaluable. I need to specially mention about Prashanth Mohan, an inspiration. I remember how much effort he put in passing through his CISSP. I used to ping him whenever I had doubt and his guidance really helped me to succeed, he believed me and put confidence on me more than myself :). Another names to mention are Olga Jilani and Ahmed Khan, their experience and guidance really helped me. I am grateful to all other active members from the group,
their questions and discussions really value added to my preparation.

 

During Exam
Reached half an hour prior to exam start time and the process of collecting
fingerprints, ID verification is quick. No food inside test center but accessible at locker during breaks. After accepting NDA, test started with mixed experience than expected. Mostly I am able to rule out two choices and need to decide between remaining two choices. Some questions took longer to proceed to next. Time is running out during the exam and got only 5 minutes to review after finishing 250 questions with two quick breaks (I read differently about having plenty of time from other people). I am getting confidence as the test progress and receiving congratulations at the end turned emotional. I know it is lengthy and happy to know if this experience helps in others journey.

 

Resources I used (Not in order of preference):
1. Office internal study sessions
2. CyberVista online classes and question bank (Good set of questions and
explanation helped to clear concepts)
3. David R Miller CISSP Videos
4. Saree Green Exam Prep Video
5. Cybrary (Kelly Handerhan) videos
6. Shon Harris Audio (Old is gold)
7. Eric Conard two 250 set questions
8. Shon Harris 10 domain question set
9. Study Notes and theory Membership - Videos and practice questions best
prepares and boosts confidence.
10. Total Tester question bank (CD comes along with Shon Harris All in one book)
11.CISSP Tests app (My favorite pill to get sleep) and CISSP Study app (End of the
chapter questions from Sybex 7th Edition)
12.Phil Martin- Simple CISSP, Audible app (Simply superb) and Simple CISSP
Exam Questions
13.Sunflower CISSP Summary Version 2.0 (Good summary for last days of
preparation)
14. Mad Unix CISSP Process guide
15. 11th hour CISSP
16. Some of the Prabh Nair CISSP tips
17. Reddit CISSP
18. Quizlet App
19. Wiley Test bank

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